Preparing and painting your walls.

Posted by James Happnie on Sunday, April 1, 2012
  You have picked your colors and you're ready to get going. Let's go through the checklist and make sure you have everything you need.

  • 1 gallon of latex paint for every 350'-400' of wall or ceiling.
  • Paint brush. Don't be cheap here. A good brush makes a world of difference and will last if properly cared for.
  • Paint pot for cutting in (brushwork).
  • Roller handle, sleeve (3/8" recommended), rolling pan and extension pole or broom handle.
  • Drop clothes and plastic to cover floors, furniture and doorways to contain sanding dust.
  • Painters tape. 
  • Spackle or joint compound for patching any damaged walls.
  • Pole sander and sandpaper. Sanding sponges are great on patches and contoured trim.
  • Hammer and screwdrivers.
  • Stepladder


  You have all the tools to do the job so let's get to work. If you can't remove the furniture from the room you can put it all in the center and cover it with plastic along with any wall decor that has been removed. Spread your drop clothes around the room covering the entire floor. You can work in sections if you don't mind a little extra clean up at the end. Once you have spread your dropclothes you can remove any nails, screws or picture hooks that will not be reused. Remove switch plates and outlet covers as well. Cover all switches and outlets with painters tape. Patch any nail holes, cracks or other imperfection and allow sufficient drying time.If you are not painting the trim you will want to run painters tape along the top edge of the baseboard to keep it free from roller spatter. When the patching is dry, using your pole sander and 100 or 120 grit sandpaper you should sand the entire wall surface. Check all of your patches to make sure they are smooth. You may need to go over them by hand sanding with paper or a sanding sponge. Brush off any dust from the tape or baseboard. Spot prime all patches with the finish paint. Set up your roller and pour 1-2 inches of paint into your paint pot. You are now ready to paint. Start by cutting in or brushing the edges to the ceiling, corners and trim. You can tackle one wall at a time or cut in the entire room first. When brushing at the tape lines be careful not to saturate the tape with paint or there is a good chance the paint will seep under the tape leaving you with sloppy looking baseboard. When you are done cutting in pour some paint in the roller pan leaving some room to roll off the excess paint. With your wet roller in an up and down motion starting in one corner begin spreading the paint. You will have to go over the same area a few times to lay off or smooth out the paint. Try not to spread the paint over to large an area or you will not get adequate coverage. Be careful not to leave lines from the edge of the roller. Your last pass over the fresh paint should be lighter in order to leave a smooth and uniform surface. Continue this process around the entire room. If a second coat is necessary you may want to wrap the roller in plastic to preserve it until the first coat is dry enough to recoat. Sanding between coats is not necessary unless you are using a glossy paint. When the 2nd coat is complete you can remove the tape. Pull the tape horizontally to minimize any wall paint from peeling. Success! You now have a beautiful new room. When your paint is dry you can hang your pictures, replace your furniture and enjoy.

Tags: painting  walls  preperation   

About the owner

Jim Happnie Born in 1964 and graduated from Quincy High School in 1982. I started painting in the summer before my senior year. After working in the painters union and a partnership in Happnie Painting I opened Happnie Homes in 2004. We provide painting and other home improvement services to the south shore, greater Boston and beyond.


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